Circa Survive


Anthony Green is a funny guy, but a kind and humble one at that. The singer was recently in Australia, on tour, with his band Circa Survive and supported by international newcomers, PVRIS. Killyourstereo.com had the opportunity to have a lengthy chat with the singer while the band was in Melbourne, and this is what went down.

So Anthony, with touring Australia three or four times now, have you found that there are certain things you have to see or do while you’re here?

I like to see where I am. Yesterday, we went to the Sydney Opera House. I really like experiencing the city I’m in. While I’m here in Melbourne I gotta go check out the graffiti down the street, as it’s a world famous alley. It’s fun to go out and meet people and see what’s going on.

Right on. When the tour was announced, I didn’t think at all that a band like PVRIS would be the support, and I saw in a recent interview that you actually really like the band and the music that they write.

Yeah I do, and it’s a weird bill for sure. They’re a huge band too. It’s really funny, their fans run up to the front every night and there’s quite a lot of young girls who love that band too. But they have these really fun, poppy songs, and I love to play music with really passionate people. Passion transcends genre and age, it’s something that you feel or you don’t. We’re excited to meet any artist who’s passionate about what they do. It does make us feel a little old though (laughs).

Well with PVRIS’s fan base being younger, and with having that Underage show tomorrow, I don’t find a lot of Circa Survive fans to be under 18, so has this been a little weird for the band at all then?

It’s funny, when they play, all of their fans freak out and go crazy, but it’s a different show for when Circa play. A bunch of their fans leave, as they don’t have anything to do with our fucking old assess (laughs), then all of our people from the bar cruise on down. Today was the big seller, and I don’t know why you guys do that in this country?

It is weird, I guess it’s because of the bars and their licensing purposes. Cause in the States you guys just have –

A show, exactly. Being in a place for two nights is cool but I would really prefer to have one sold out night than one good night and [one] weird night. It is actually really cool that some kids, who can’t come tonight, could come tomorrow instead.

That is true, and I’m not saying that you don’t have any younger fans. With the new record, I feel like it was meant to be a new beginning for the band, would you agree?

I think more of it as being an ending. There’s always a new beginning of something, you know? I didn’t want to give any hope to it as it’s about falling out of place, that moment when you realise that you’re fucked, and you fucked yourself. The theme of the album was realising that you had a mountain to climb. Everybody wants to put hope in everything and that’s something you find on your own, and I didn’t want to take anybody on that journey of me finding hope. I wanted to take them down to fucking hell (laughs).

(Laughs) well said, man. With playing these new songs live, you’ve spoken extensively about how playing them allows for some evaluation of yourself, and I’m curious if you find it quite taxing to re-live those thoughts and feelings each time you play? Or can you disconnect from it all?

It’s tough man. I have a lot of fun playing music. It’s the most spiritually connected I’ve ever been to something in my life. But I wish I could disconnect from it, and just go out there and be all, ‘Yeah, party!’

It’s extremely and emotionally taxing, and maybe that’s just me. I know plenty of people who can go out there and party, and while I have fun doing it, at the end of it I feel like I concentrated all of the stuff I went through. For me, with writing and performing music, I am not lamenting on pain – I feel that pain. I’m not playing a character. There are good things in there to re-live and it’s cathartic. I envy people who disconnect and still be passionate, cause I couldn’t fake it. If I’m not connected, then I won’t attempt to even go on-stage.

Do you think that translates to the fans? That they can tell when you guys are into it and when you’re not?

I know that’s what draws me to performers, their authenticity, so maybe it is. I can remember being a little kid, and I’ m not comparing myself to this person in anyway, watching Frank Sinatra and seeing that he was really feeling it. He wasn’t going through an emotion, he was really sad. I loved that, and that drove me to it. So that draws me to artists.

Cool man, I find that draws me to bands too, when it’s something real, and not an act. With Circa’s sounds I’ve always thought of you guys as being such a niche band, still successful, but quite different, would you agree with that at all?

Yeah, absolutely. We’re…polarising would be the wrong word, but people either love the band or they don’t. So you’re either along for the ride or you’re creeped out by us. I would rather be something that only a few select people can understand than something that’s trying to reach the masses. To me, it’s the difference between going to a nice restaurant and going to McDonald’s; McDonald’s is made for everyone. This shit isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t play well in the background. This is for the people who feel the same way about music that we do.

Yeah, well said man. I think niche markets can have a really strong appeal. Changing gears a little, I remember with an interview you did last year for the Huffington Post, you guys were talking about how the fans were trying to figure out the importance of the giant baby…thing in the ‘Schema’ music video. Do you still get any weird theories?

Yeah, we still get some really crazy shit about it. The cool thing about that video, and the cool thing about visual representations of music, and in our songs too, I really like finding vast pastures of symbolism. So it doesn’t have to mean one thing.

Oh, exactly man.

For months people were trying to get me to tell them what it meant. I just didn’t want to talk about, I’ll take it to my fucking grave (laughs).

I think that kind of mystery to the music and the art can be really good for repeated investment from fans and casual listeners alike. 

It’s kind of like a transformation, cause you’re constantly growing. So the meanings grow as well. If I listened to music that I listened to when a girl broke up with me, I can’t really listen to it anymore as it didn’t transform with me. So not having a definite meaning means that you can transform with it.

I 100% agree with you, the more avant-garde something is, the more I tend to like it. Going off some of your recent Tweets, it seems like you’re finding it liberating to write the new Saosin record without a lot of pressure, and with your writing in general, for all your projects, it seems that you always have complete creative control. I imagine that helps you to make the best possible music you can?

It does man. It’s great to go in there with people who believe in you and your vision, and who aren’t overpowered by the idea that they have to turn a profit with it. Again, it’s not maths made on a grand scale to cast a giant net out and make bunch of publishing money for a bunch of songwriters. We keep a low overheard, we fund and record the records ourselves, and we can serve them to our core fan base and exist on that plane forever. I would keep what we have and make it the strongest, and most creatively connected thing we can, then go out there and try to appeal to more people who might be weirded out by the band. This music is too personal or visceral for some, and that’s okay. That’s what I love about music. It’s about creating and paying homage to what you love about music.

For the new Saosin record, I was a big fan of the band when Cove was in the band, but I always had an opinion of it. I wish I could take that band in the direction we took this record [‘Descensus’], as it’s very heavy. I miss screaming, I miss layering vocals, I miss being in a heavier record. We didn’t have to sit down with someone who funded the record, we just wrote a heavy record, one that we couldn’t write on Capitol with Cove.

That kind of self-sustainability and drive seems to stem a lot from the DIY/hardcore scene, which you grew up with, and even though you’re on Sumerian, you’re not suddenly going to start churning out poppy-metalcore songs.

Yeah (laughs). Sumerian came to us and gave us a bunch of money for a record that you’ll have final say over, and we thought that that was more than we’d probably make doing it on our own. We have a great lawyer and they have a great team, and we were very explicit about how we come across as a band. We’re not trying to be something we’re not, and it’s not like we’re trying to get new fans. That’s the worst thing a label wants to hear. You grew as a band by being good. Not by wearing cool clothes. Not by having a cool music video. Not by having a cool print ad. Not by being attractive, as we’re old fuckers now anyways. We work hard at what we do, and we love what we do. We’re not a cute band and we may not be your mum’s favourite band. that’s what’s cool about us, you get it – you get it.

Yeah, you guys do have a really loyal fan base, and it never seemed like it was a fad at any point for the fans.

We made strategic decisions that could have financially hurt us in the long run for things that didn’t feel right for us. We fought with all types of publicists and labels and money people over the years. I would rather be poor and play one show a year, working three jobs and making music I love, then…pandering. I would sooner rob you, than try and write a song that you’ll like (laughs).

That’s the kind of thing that you could put on your tombstone as your famous last words. With that last question, that’s all I’ve got for you today Anthony, thanks heaps for taking the time to do this today.

Hey, my pleasure man, thank you so much for paying attention to us.

‘Descensus‘ is out now. You can purchase the album via iTunes.

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